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Showing posts with label Choices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Choices. Show all posts

Monday, September 5, 2022

You Get One Choice - Purity 828


You Get One Choice - Purity 828

Purity 828 09/05/2022  Purity 828 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a kayaker paddling into the sunrise light of a new day, on what I presume to be the waters of Greenwich Bay, comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from their daybreak paddle session on Saturday morning.  

Happy Labor Day everyone. As I saw on a billboard ad on I787 on Saturday, I wish everyone an enjoyable “honest day off”.  Say what you will about labor unions, but if you have the day off you can thank the labor movement in the 19th century for literally fighting and dying for worker’s rights.  

According to History.com, “in the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages.

People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.” ( https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1).

The labor movement fought to give workers protections, benefits, and living wages. and one of the results of their efforts is the “working man’s holiday” that we celebrate today. So enjoy the day off and if you should happen to see workers on strike or trying to organize a union, I suggest you support their efforts.

As much as people seem to complain about corporate greed, there some times seems to be a lack of support for unions who try to make them provide a living wage for their employees.  Even today some of the people who have the most challenging jobs struggle to make a living because there is no union to represent their interests.  

I work for a Fortune 500 company and the wages and benefits that I have are the result of my union’s history of successfully negotiating for its members when the company who annually makes BILLION dollar profits would have given us less.    

Unfortunately, in this world broken by sin and corrupted by the love of money, sometimes you need someone to fight for you or you need to band together with others to demand what you need to live.  

But the One who really gives us life, and was willing to die to give us what we need is Jesus Christ.  The unions might help provide what we need in this life but only God and faith in Jesus Christ will give you good conditions when you go into eternity.  

And before I got on my union rant, I was musing over the fact that in this life, it may appear that we have a plethora of choices of where we will work, who we will love, or what we will do with the time that we aren’t working to support our families, but at the end of each day it becomes clear that in reality we only have one choice: the thing we decide to do.  

Because it was Labor Day weekend and we are faced with the clear and present danger of summer drawing to a close, even though we have the days off there can be some pressure to “do something” or make the most of these last days before school starts.

Yesterday my wife and I were faced with the uncommon situation of being “kid free” on a Sunday after church and she decided to leave the planning for what we would do with our Sunday afternoon up to me. 

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so we home and I decided to walk the dog and use the short stroll to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of the day.  

When I think of summer I think of swimming and so I pondered going to a relatively nearby swimming spot we had gone to that actually allowed the adults to go into the water above their waists! The day was sunny so I felt that would be appropriate and because it was Labor Day Sunday I felt a real pull of urgency to “make summer memories!”  

But because of my wife’s hectic August schedule and stress of working in Hell’s kitchen, I really missed being with her and because we were going to be alone for a few hours, I decided to just spend the day with her in our countryside home.  

When we first got together as a couple, I told my then girlfriend that one thing I learned about relationships was that often the couple will run here and there going on dates or doing activities and either don’t know how or are comfortable just being in each other’s presence. So in the beginning, instead of trying to excite or impress one another by going to places of “dates”, we stayed at our countryside home and just talked and enjoyed each other’s presence. 

And I think this is a good test for couples. Can you stand to be with one another when there is no where to go and nothing to do? Are your temperaments in sync that you can just enjoy being together? Can you rest in each other’s company?

And on the flip side, are you independent and secure enough to allow each other time to yourselves to be alone, without clingy codependency?  

I believe that most of the relationship problems people suffer from today are caused by selfishness and the failure to establish the intimacy that comes from being at peace in each other’s presence.     

So I only really had one choice yesterday so I decided no to chase after a vague sense of fulfillment  that I would have possibly gotten by going swimming and instead chose to rest in the presence of the one I love and this morning I know I chose wisely.   

So in life, we get one choice. We can consider all the options but in the end it will come down to what you actually choose to do. Yesterday, I chose love and I have no regrets.  

And that’s the thing too. No matter what we choose. Live your life without regrets. You get one shot at this life so might as well do what you want and see how it goes rather than having to wonder “what if”.  

But of course, from some one who made a lot of bad decisions and suffered for them, let me encourage you to ask the Lord to help guide you.  Sometimes we need someone stronger than us to fight for us. Sometimes we need to band with others to make a way.  

Through Jesus Christ, the Lord has fought for us and won and it is only up to us to answer the call on our life to follow Him and join with others who have done the same.  Ultimately, we get one chance at this and so I would encourage you to keep walking and talking with God and allow Him to show you the power of His provision, the depths of His love and the peace of His presence.   Choose love, Choose the Lord Jesus, and Live.

 

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Peter 3:7 (NLT2)
7  In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

Today’s verse encourages husbands to honor their wives and to treat them with understanding with the encouragement that if they do so their prayers would not be hindered. 

Well, I don’t preplan these messages and when I speak about spending some quality time with my wife and a Bible verse comes up that tells me to honor my wife and to treat her with understanding, I have to believe I am “tracking with the Spirit”!

Here is some simple biblical advice to husbands to meet the responsibility of their marriage covenants, to honor your wife and treat her with understanding. 

And according to today’s verse, when husbands fail to do that not only do we suffer for neglecting or taking our wives for granted,  we also disrupt our relationship with the Lord to the extent that our prayers could be hindered.  

Amazingly, of all the various teachings I have heard about prayer, I don’t recall any of them ever telling husbands to honor their wives and to treat them with understanding to get your prayers answered!  But here it is,   Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”  

So the bottom line here is that the Lord has entrusted us, men and women, with our spouses and when we fail to honor, love, or respect them, we sin.  We don’t do what we “know” is right.   And sin will hinder our relationship with the Lord and the answer of our prayers.  

So let’s remember to honor our spouses and treat them as they should. The love they bring to our lives may just be the answer to our prayers we need without knowing it.

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Reflect on Where the Powers May Influence You

Ask God for discernment to help you determine where the powers might be effectively working their deceptive and ungodly control over an area of your life.

Direct Influence: Have you ever participated in any occultic activities or in the direct worship of Satan? Many credible Christian writers and counselors can point to involvements in popular witchcraft and sorcery, channeling, the heavy-metal culture, parapsychology (including ESP, clairvoyance, telepathy, etc.), the cults and an assortment of other activities as an entry into the more direct and immediate forms of satanic involvement in life. For those who come from non-Western cultures, involvement in tribal religions, worshiping household gods, and various magical and mystical practices could provide an opportunity for the powers to gain a significant foothold. What are your own past, or present, involvements?

The Flesh: As I have already pointed out, the powers not only work in the more dramatic forms (like the occult), but also in the more subtle, but equally effective, ways. They take advantage of our inner tendency to disobey God; that is, they exploit what seems to come natural to us. Remember, Paul associated behavior like lying, excessive anger, stealing and dirty talk with the activity of the devil. What aspects of your own behavior are you struggling with at this moment?

The World: Carefully assess where “the world system” might be influencing your values and behavior in a negative way. Is public opinion and peer pressure determining your moral choices? Is there a tradition in your church (“we have always done it this way”) that may be hindering its responsiveness to the Spirit for more effective ministry in a climate of change? Does your inherited economic philosophy prevent you from giving sacrificially of your financial and time resources for the mission of the church? These questions are merely suggestive of many similar questions we should honestly put to ourselves about the degree of influence the “structures” may be having on us and our fellow believers.

No doubt some might accuse me of “seeing a demon under every bush.” This criticism is fine to the extent that I reflect Paul’s view of the pervasive nature of the influence of the powers of darkness over many areas of life. We need to take more seriously Paul’s emphasis on the variety of ways the powers of darkness operate (methodeiai—Eph 6:11). This certainly does not mean that exorcism, prayers for “binding” and direct authoritative denunciations of the devil are appropriate responses in all instances where his activity is perceived. Paul emphasized a “resistance” model of response based on one’s relationship with Christ.

The net result of exposing the extent of demonic activity in the affairs of day-to-day life should force us to a deeper dependence on the power of God.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 211–212.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Burn the Ships - Purity 786


 Burn the Ships – Purity 786

Purity 786 7/17/2022 Purity 786 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of pelicans skimming the surface of the surf underneath as the sun rises from a stand of clouds on the horizon comes to us from a friend who rose early to capture this scene at Wabasso Beach in Florida on July 16th

Well it is Monday again and as the sun rises on a new work week I am marveling over how our movement forward in life also results in the familiar things of the past being left behind.   As we put our best foot forward on the path of Christian Discipleship, and honestly whatever path you are on path , we make decisions that will, perhaps unwittingly or completely intentionally, fundamentally change our lives and sometimes the familiar elements from our pasts will no longer be familiar.  

As I thought about this aspect about moving into the future, I thought of the advice to “not burn your bridges”, which advises against forgetting about where you came from, or from stepping on people on the way up, or offending people while you are on the way out because, honestly, we don’t know what the future will hold and shouldn’t cut ourselves off from the people, places, and things of the past that helped us to get where we are.   

As I have recently transitioned to a new job function, reporting location, church home, and ministry, there were moments in my journey where I was tempted to celebrate the new changes in a way that may have revealed my relief over leaving behind certain aspects of my previous situations that weren’t perfect. In the excitement of new things, the enemy brought to mind the things in those previous situations that were negative,  and he was silent in reminding me of all the good things that I enjoyed in the places I was before.  The enemy tempted me to show my joy over new things in a way that could have offended people that I had no offense against.  

“Look at who is so happy to go, he must have really hated it there.”

That is simply a message that was completely untrue and one I did not want to inadvertently send to people I appreciated having in my life. 

But luckily the Lord is with me via the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit since I put my faith in Jesus Christ and He and the study of the word of God has taught me to be a lot wiser than I was in the past and I have realized that although I have been blessed to move into new things, I was perfectly content with where I was even if there may have been some imperfect aspects or difficult people that were in those old places.  

That’s the most I will say about that.  I’ll keep it real. Not everything was perfect in my former places, but it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t or couldn’t be content in going back to them tomorrow.  I didn’t burn any bridges.  I don’t think. Although I guess it is possible that the mere fact that I left could be enough to offend some people.  

All the moves I made were either better for me professionally, or personally, and were made after a considerable time of contemplation and through a period of prayer and were only made when I felt that God was subtly directing me to go the way I have followed.   

Of course, I don’t know what the future holds, and it is completely possible that the Lord will direct my path right back to some of the former things, places, and people that I have walked away from.  So you don’t act like a jerk on the way out the door, you don’t burn bridges.  The phrase, at least in my mind, has a negative connotation.  

But let’s face it…while we may not want to leave a path of charred earth in our wake, some of the decisions we make on our journey through life will lead us to a whole new world that may result in never going back to the former things.   

This whole new world concept made me think of the phrase “Burn the Ships” and the song by King & Country, whose lyrics say: 

“Burn the ships, cut the ties

Send a flare into the night

Say a prayer, turn the tide

Dry your tears and wave goodbye

Step into a new day

We can rise up from the dust and walk away

We can dance upon our heartache, yeah

So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships

And don't you look back”

Hey, we’re not burning bridges, okay?  But brother and sisters, sometimes the journey God has put you on puts you at a crossroads where you can make a decision to go to a whole new world.  

The question is: will you take the path to a new world?  And if you do, what does that mean? How do you commit yourself to a path that is unlike anything you have ever done before?  You burn the ships.  

If 1519, Cortez led a Spanish expedition to Mexico. Realizing that his crew was already exhausted from the long sea journey, he had to motivate them to succeed in the “new world”. So he ordered the scuttling of the ships they arrived in. They burned the ships not because they hated them. They burned the ships to motivate them to succeed in their new endeavor, by looking forward, by not looking back, and by intentionally making it difficult for them to return to their old lives. (https://www.markcperna.com/221-burn-your-ships/)  

"Burning the Ships" means doing something that makes it impossible for yourself to turn back, especially if it is done willfully and without necessity.” (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BurningTheShips#:~:text=%22Burning%20the%2Fyour%20ships%2F,invasion%20fleet%20to%20be%20burnt.)

“Burning your ships” doesn’t necessarily have to be as dramatic or extreme as what Cortez did. In fact, Cortez’s ruthlessness conquest of Mexico is not the model we want to follow!  

We follow God the Father, the Prince of Peace: Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.      

But when we answer the call of God on our lives, put our faith in Christ, and begin walking in the Spirit, we shouldn’t be surprised when we are given opportunities that will call us to leave behind what’s familiar and to pursue something that could lead to “the good” for ourselves and others.   Whether it’s a new career path, a new church, or a new ministry, we can’t really be surprised when the Lord responds to our heart’s cry to “send me”, when we get the invitations to “be sent”!  

It's like God is testing our faith and is saying: “Here's your opportunity, what are you going to do with it?  Oh yeah, I know it’s different. Will you trust me as I help you to make “all things new” in your life? Will you be “bold and courageous? Will you?”  

Now listen, before you run into the office and quit you job today,  make sure you are listening to the voice of the Lord. Seek His wisdom and guidance and follow the path that He would have you take.  

We should always try to be wise and follow His leadings and do so in a manner where we are good, faithful, kind, gentle, patient, loving, and self-controlled. 

We don’t burn bridges by being unkind, ungrateful, rude, or unappreciative towards those we have walked with but are now being separated from in our voyage to the new world God directs us to.     

Although Abraham was called to follow God into the wilderness and to leave His family behind, He didn’t say “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya” At least that’s not recorded in scripture… 

But we might need to “burn the ships”, so we don’t look back. We might have to say goodbye to even the good things in our pasts to say hello to the new things in our future.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  He only wants what’s good for us but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have places for us to go to and new people to talk to and to share our lives with.  Hey, in Christ, like the Nina Simone song says “ It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day, It’s a new life…” so remind yourself to do what Jesus would do and be kind and be bold as you follow your heavenly Father’s directions to the new world He has for you.  

 

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Timothy 6:17 (NLT2)
17  Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

In today’s verse, we are encouraged to not to trust in the riches of this world and to trust in God for all we need for our enjoyment.  

The state of our post Christian society in America shows us that those who are spiritually blind they don’t see a need for a relationship with God.  In my interactions with some non-believers, I have gotten the impression that because they have some degree of financial security, they believe they don’t need God because they are providing for themselves. They are paying the bills and have a “good life” so they claim that they don’t need what God has to offer. They turn a blind eye to the big spiritual question of life and death by either claiming a belief of no afterlife, some form of reincarnation, or in a nebulous non demanding god of their own creation that will accept all into heaven, or at least the “good” people like them without any conditions or discernable relationship with Him. 

But mostly their focus was on the here and now: the things they can buy, the place they could go, the rich experiences they can have because of the money that their hard work or cleverness could provide.  Rather than seeking the Lord, they are enjoying and trusting in the money that make their good lives possible.  

I’m not advocating poverty here.  The Lord provides us with our ability to work and provide for ourselves and we are to be good stewards of what we have been entrusted with to provide for ourselves and our families and if we are given the opportunity to enjoy prosperity we shouldn’t feel guilty about it.  

But we shouldn’t forsake a relationship with God because of money.  Money won’t last forever. Our lives on earth are finite and even if our fortunes are vast, our lives wil expire and we won’t benefit from our vast reserves of wealth in the afterlife.  

Only having peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, gives us a “place prepared for us” in God’s kingdom.   So we should not tire ourselves by chasing after riches and by putting our trust in our money rather than God.  

God is eternal and He is the only One who can give us the security that never runs out and can’t be spent.   So trust in the One who can give us all we need for our enjoyment and the One who can give us life everlasting: trust in God by putting your faith and Jesus and following where the Holy Spirit leads.

______________________________________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

In Christ

Paul’s favorite expression for describing the position of the believer is “in Christ.” The phrase (and its cognates) occur well over 200 times in Paul’s writings. It is packed with deep significance for understanding who we are as Christ’s redeemed people. Its frequency underlines Paul’s desire for believers to see themselves closely linked to their victorious Lord.

We may begin explaining it by describing what it is not. It should be distinguished from living “in darkness,” “in sin,” “in the world,” “in Adam” and “in the flesh.” It is interesting that Paul never referred to the pre-Christian life as being lived “in Satan” or “in the devil.” This fact highlights the qualitatively different relationship that occurs between the believer and Christ compared to the nonbeliever and the devil.

The person who is “in Christ” has experienced a fundamental change. Paul says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17; italics mine). A divine creative activity occurs in the life of a person who becomes a Christian. Donald Guthrie explains that this refers to “the death of the old creation dominated by adverse spiritual forces, and the emergence of a new creation in which everything is Christ-centred.”

Being “in Christ” also reflects an initiation into a new age. Christ’s death and resurrection inaugurated “the age to come,” consisting of life, righteousness, peace and joy. In contrast, Adam is the representative of life in the present age. Through Adam came sin, condemnation and death (Rom 5:12–14). Paul can therefore say, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22).

Paul’s concept of being “in Christ” is not a mystical idea of absorption into a pantheistically conceived deity with a resultant loss of individuality—like a drop of water falling into the ocean. In Christ self is maintained, but unity and relationship with an empowering and directing leader is the distinctive trait. This truth comes out most clearly in Paul’s concept of believers being members of “the body of Christ.”

Joined to Christ and to One Another

The new identity of the believer must also be understood in connection with what Paul termed “the body of Christ.” The work of the Holy Spirit joins every new believer to the body of Christ upon conversion (1 Cor 12:13). The body image is one of Paul’s methods for depicting the solidarity of believers with one another and their closeness to Christ. Paul stressed the interdependence of the various members of the body because God has uniquely endowed each person with a particular ability (charisma) to minister to others (1 Cor 12:1–30).

When he wrote to the Ephesians and the Colossians, Paul took the image one step further, describing Christ as the “head” of the body (Eph 1:22–23; Col 1:18). As the “head,” Paul implied that Christ functions, not only in a position of leadership, but also as “the inspiring, ruling, guiding, combining, sustaining power, the mainspring of its activity, the centre of its unity, and the seat of its life.” The head truly empowers the body and enables it to fulfill its mission in spite of intense demonic hostility. The head is able to accomplish this because God has exalted Christ and placed all of the evil demonic powers under his feet (see Eph 1:22). We believers must respond to the leading impulses of the head and receive his enabling power.

The same thought is expressed with Paul’s image of the church as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:22–33). This image, above all others, emphasizes the closeness and intimacy Christ desires to have with his people. Christ not only loves his people and sacrifices his life for them, but he also “feeds and cares” for them (Eph 5:29). Out of his divine resources he gives them all they need for life and godliness.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 112–114.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Streams of Change – The Choice You Make - Purity 553

Streams of Change – The Choice You Make - Purity 553 

Purity 553 10/19/2021 Purity 553 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a mountain stream and trees displaying the colors of Autumn comes to us from yours truly as I recently visited Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington NY to mark the season by taking an excursion with some of my future in laws to see the fall foliage.

I share today’s photo to highlight those changing colors in the leaves and to express the transitions of another season of life with the currents of that mountain stream.  And just like how a mountain stream can have some parts that are peaceful and some parts that are tumultuous because of rapids, life and its changes can be gradual or jarring but the thing is that there is no part in which things aren’t moving.  

If your life is anything like mine, the color of the leaves isn’t the only thing changing this Autumn.  I have recently become engaged to be married and my fiancĂ© and I have agreed on January 1st as our wedding date.  So game on!

I have recently pondered one of the effects of the Fall of man and how one of the things that happened when Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden was that suddenly the choices, for good and evil and otherwise, seemed to grow exponentially.  After the fall Adam and Eve now knew “good and evil” so essentially they went from a simple existence where they could only make one “bad” choice to a whole knew ball game where “anything goes”.  

In that post fall existence Cain learned that if someone upsets you, you can choose to reach out and kill someone.   You can do that!  However, just because mankind now “knew” about these new evil options for living doesn’t mean they “should” do that!  

Even though man’s free will now included every conceivable choice on the good and evil spectrum with their newfound knowledge, God still wrote His law on our hearts, so our consciences not only told us that some of our new choices were possible, it told us they were “wrong”, “bad”, or “sinful”.  Paradoxically, some of those sinful choices simultaneous would make us feel good in the flesh but still felt bad in our consciences.  

So God designed us to go through life in the Post Eden existence with the knowledge and ability to choose how we would live.  We have the choice to live according to His ways, which our consciences tell us are “good, right, and holy” but aren’t always easy, or according to our ways, which may “work” “or “feel good” but aren’t always “good, right, and holy.”   

So as a Christian, we try to live according to God’s will even though it may not always be easy.  While the world, would say there are all kinds of options regarding relationships. My fiancĂ© and I have chosen to do things God’s way and get married.  Well done right.  Sure. Thanks. But today’s message is actually not about choosing good over evil. It’s about making the only choice: the one we make and have to live with. 

Although I individually, and we as a couple, have chosen to walk out the rest of our lives living a discipled or surrendered Christian life, in considering the changing currents or season on my life, I am marveling over the aspect of time and choice and how it determines our path into the future.  

Although we have “free will”, we are not free from the consequences of our choices.  TammyLyn and I have decided to get married and in that decision our path is set. 

MT’s solitary Christian existence and plans to live a quiet life of devout discipline in what he thought of as his “Monk house” “down by the river” is over.  “Monk House” is gone.  In fact, my house, or place, “Down by The River is gone!  TammyLyn has called it “River House” and just like that, that is what it has become! River House! To be honest I sort of like it!   

But this is just one example of how things can be instantly and forever changed in how we think about and how we refer to things when we make a decision that changes our relationship with them.  

Of all the “right” and “wrong” choices in life that we have to choose from, they all have one thing in common: we will have to move forward in life based on the choices we make.   We are subject to the consequences of what we pick.  No matter how many options there are before us in life, we get to pick one option.  No matter how many aspects of the various options available that we incorporate into our final decision,  that is our “final answer”.  

So as we have decided to come together as man and wife, what was uncertain and unclear is becoming more certain and clearer every day that we draw closer to our wedding day.  

And the same goes for you, bud.  You might not be getting married on January 1st but whatever your path and no matter how free you may think you are to do “whatever I want with my life”, the universe that God has created with time and space the way that it is only gives you one option for your life: what you pick, what you decide. 

Now while most of our decisions don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, there are some spiritual questions that need to be answered and the decisions on how you decided to live your life should be consistent with the answers you come up with.  

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living and I would agree but I would say that it is very important to examine our lives according to the intentions of the One who created all life: God.  

In the Bible, eternal life is promised to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.  Each of us can decide whether or not we will believe that.  And no matter how many options you think there are regarding ultimate reality, the meaning of life, and truth,  you will be subject to the choice you make when it comes to Christ. 

God has revealed Himself though the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The word of God tells us that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and eternal life. 

I have experienced the manifest presence of God in my pursuits of the Christian faith and have had my life transformed by His presence in my life after accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.  

Whatever decisions we make, lock us in to the consequences of those decisions.  So, as a friend, I implore you to take time to consider Jesus and to make the decision to put your faith in Him.  

We can examine our lives and we examine the world but to get true wisdom we have to seek the Lord.  So ask Him for guidance. Ask Him to reveal Himself.  The word says if you seek Him, you will find Him.  So look for Him and if you find Him, follow in the way He leads you.  

And if you already know Him, keep walking and talking with God and He will make all those decisions that will lead you into the future a little easier as His path is righteous and leads to your ultimate good.  

 

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Jeremiah 17:10 (NLT2)
10  But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

Today’s verse points to realizing the consequences of our decisions.  

Today’s verse tells us that God knows our hearts and motivations and that he will “reward” us according to what our actions deserve.  

If you ever wanted a verse that could express the concept of “Karma”, here it is.  But unlike other religions that speak of that concept of “what goes around comes around”, the Bible tells us that God determines “the rewards” of our actions.  Karma and God’s will are almost synonymous but there is one big difference between the two: one concept acknowledges the existence of God and the other doesn’t.  

To believe in Karma is to believe that there is no God, or that God is the universe, or that God is in everything; because if you believe in God, the concept of Karma – a cosmic system of cause and effect based on spiritual truth, would rightly be identified as God’s will.  

But guess what? It’s time to destroy your concept of Karma as a system of rewards for actions done in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Karma is usually part of a theological system that believes in cyclic existence and multiple lives.  The word of God says we have one life to live and then the judgement.   So right there you should reject the “karmic” systems of belief that say we live more than once as antichrist.

But if you insist that while you don’t believe in multiple lives but still believe in Karma as an expression of how your eternal destiny is based on the overall moral and spiritual results of your actions, I have more bad news for you.    

If Christ is God, as He is as a person of the Trinity, there really is only one action – the decision to make Christ your Lord and Savior- that will matter. 

While we will all be judged or rewarded in eternity according to our works in some sense,  the gospel of Jesus Christ indicates that only those who place their faith in Him will have everlasting life in the kingdom of God.  

So believe that God knows your heart and your secret motivations, and that he will reward you or punish you for them to some degree but understand that it is in Christ alone that we can become Children of God and have eternal life with Him.  

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

E. What Are Healthy Dating Standards and Boundaries?

Brad and Sheri meet in a Sunday school group and have been dating for a few months. After her husband's death from cancer two years before, Sheri hesitates to engage her emotions for fear of losing another loved one. And with two boys, ages 7 and 10, Sheri guards the hearts of her boys as well as her own. Brad wants to respect her past, her sons, and her emotions, but he also wants to develop a deeper relationship with her. He is unsure how to proceed in a way that helps Sheri put her trust in him so that they might pursue a future together.

Brad and Sheri struggle with boundaries. He respects Sheri's emotional boundaries, but he longs for more openness with her. Sheri, on the other hand, has erected such high and rigid boundaries that a wall encasing her emotions prevents her from drawing closer to Brad and growing in the relationship. Once they can communicate openly, they can begin to balance their boundaries with a bridge to building trust.

Healthy relationships require healthy boundaries, not roadblocks. We all bring our past, our pain, and our passions into relationships. As you pursue a dating relationship, communication is critically important to gain wisdom and guidance....

"Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance." (Proverbs 1:5)

Establish your convictions for dating before you start to date....

  • Write down your convictions and post them in a highly visible place.
  • Share them with others who will hold you accountable for maintaining them.
  • Develop friendships with those who share your moral convictions, rather than with those who pursue sexual relationships.
  • Make it a priority to discover the character of the person you are considering dating before letting your heart become vulnerable to needless hurt.
  • Avoid dates who gossip about others...soon they'll gossip about you.
  • Guard the reputation of those whom you date.
  • Practice saying no to others so that you can say yes to God.

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10)

  • Relational boundaries enable you to:
    • Stand up for yourself and speak your mind appropriately
    • Feel comfortable in giving honest feedback to others
    • Be firm with others in a loving and gentle way
    • Respect the rules of others and act in their best interest
    • Express the rules you have established for your relationships
    • Defend others and promote equality in relationships God summarizes the framework of boundaries in His Word....

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)

  • Emotional and mental boundaries equip you to:
    • Evaluate the appropriateness of your emotions in light of God's Word and deal with them accordingly
    • Investigate truth for yourself and disengage from those who try to manipulate or hurt you and whose ideas and values are contrary to your own
    • Guard against letting emotions rule you by focusing your mind on God's thoughts and on His character
    • Keep your emotions governed by God's truths and His perspective on events in your life
    • Experience natural human emotions and agree or disagree with others without fear or shame
    • Respond emotionally to others and communicate your own thoughts and opinions in a Christlike way

God tells us to submit every one of our thoughts into alignment with the mind of Christ in order to obey Him....

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

  • Moral and ethical boundaries teach you to:
    • Know the difference between right and wrong
    • Appreciate the true value of people
    • Live a life of moral integrity
    • Be the same in public as you are in private
    • Discern the true character of a person
    • Evaluate the right way to think and act toward others God calls us to do only what is right....

"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man." (2 Corinthians 8:21)

  • Sexual boundaries empower you to:
    • Determine whether or not you will allow a person to touch you sexually
    • Determine areas of appropriate sexual expression and activity
    • Determine how you will respond in the heat of passionate temptation
    • Determine personal purity that preserves sexual activity for a committed marriage relationship
    • Determine the parameters you will place on your thought life regarding sex
    • Determine what you will allow yourself to watch, listen to, and participate in that is of a sexual nature

God's Word clearly states that these boundaries are not to be violated....

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)

  • Physical boundaries help you to:
    • Guard against abusive behavior
    • Prevent physical injury to yourself and to others
    • Protect yourself against threat or risk
    • Shield yourself from danger or harm
    • Avoid the appearance of impropriety
    • Maintain a sense of being separate, having your own personal identity God's Word reminds us that our bodies belong to Him....

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Healthy Boundaries

Question: "What role do boundaries play in relationships, and just how important is it to establish boundaries?"

Answer: People with healthy boundaries understand the reality of our unique individuality and our need for mutually beneficial separateness. They accept that we are separate from one another and yet we live with one another. We are individually responsible before God and yet God holds us responsible for how we treat one another.

Although we are separate individuals, God made us to be in relationship with each other. The means by which we successfully do this is by setting and maintaining boundaries. People who have appropriate boundaries have healthy relationships because...

  • They recognize healthy boundaries that are...
    • —Modeled in their families
    • —Developed in their close relationships
    • —Rooted in God's perfect will for them
  • They understand that healthy boundaries provide...
    • —Safety, security, and confidence in who they are
    • —The ability to say no to others without guilt or fear
    • —"Fences" to protect them, not to keep them away from one another

Healthy people have healthy boundaries. With them, we can juggle the two opposites of separateness and togetherness by creating and maintaining balance in our relationships. We do that by keeping God in His proper place and people in their proper place. God comes first and people come second....

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37-39)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

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